Mozambican social movements raise their flags ahead of the UN COP on climate change

Real World Radio

La Via Campesina Mozambique, the organization Justicia Ambiental-Friends of the Earth Mozambique and the National Peasant Union of Mozambique presented a joint political position on Thursday in Maputo, ahead of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention on Climate Change (COP 17) that begins on November 28 in Durban, South Africa.

They also launched the Mozambican caravan that will leave to Durban on November 26 with nearly 30 representatives of the three social groups to participate in the parallel activities to the COP. The mobilization takes place as part of the “Trans-African Caravan of Hope”, which comprises representatives of almost all African countries and that will soon arrive in Durban.

The defense of family and peasant farming, the right to access to land, the demand that African resources will benefit their own communities instead of other countries and big corporations and the rejection of carbon trading are some of the most important political positions presented today.

Real World Radio interviewed activist Jeremias Vunjanhe, representative of Justicia Ambiental – Friends of the Earth Mozambique, to learn more about the document launched by FoE Mozambique, La Via Campesina together with the National Peasant Union.

Jeremias said the three groups are demanding the African governments to reject land concentration and corporate control of the continent’s resources, and that they should act to stop these processes. They also demand the enforcement of the peasants’ right to access to land and the African peoples’ right to food sovereignty. They demand the governments to promote “public policies” to benefit the peoples as well as family and peasant farming.

In the lead-up to the COP, Mozambican social movements also demand African governments to ensure the citizens’ access to water above corporate interests. They highlighted that Mozambican and African resources should be for the benefit of local communities and peoples in order to secure a development that meets their needs instead of favoring developed countries and big corporations.

Meanwhile, the Mozambican activists demand that African government representatives have clear agendas and strategies of investments “to ensure energy sovereignty” through decentralized systems and renewable energies.

Justicia Ambiental, Via Campesina and the National Peasants Union of Mozambique are also demanding “real agreements” in the climate talks, where industrialized nations commit to drastically reduce their emissions, their consumption patterns and to finance mitigation actions in vulnerable nations already affected, like the African ones.

“We also demand that they stop the hypocrisy of offsetting mechanisms set under the Kyoto Protocol”, emphasized Vunjanhe. These mechanisms “consist in the commodification of nature and common goods and reasons for the most polluting countries and corporations to continue polluting the planet”.

Vunjanhe says the Protocol, the only agreement that forces industrialized nations to reduce their polluting emissions, has several positive aspects and that is why he expects to see a second commitment period agreed (2013-2017). But he clarified that there are several aspects of the convention with which they disagree, and he especially mentioned Clean Development Mechanisms, that lead to carbon trade.

The activist also highlighted that the caravans will arrive in Durban with representatives of social movements from all the continent. The Mozambican caravan includes representatives from Justicia Ambiental, Via Campesina and the National Peasant Union.

The peasants, fisherfolk and environmental activists will place their demands in the alternative events to the COP in order to put pressure to be included in the agenda of the negotiations. “We know it won’t be easy. We don’t have much hope that the COP in Durban will have a positive outcome, but we believe that Durban is a space for mobilization where peoples will meet, where there will be alternative solutions”, said Vunjanhe.

“We are aware that the COP negotiating processes are controlled by big world elites, by big transnational corporations”, there comes the mistrust of social movements, said the activist. “But as social movements we believe that the alternative events will be the necessary force so that peoples affirm their sovereignty, make their demands and that governments will take their needs in consideration”.